It was a solid run by the Havre High volleyball team, but after a strong showing at the divisional tournament, the Blue Ponies season has unfortunately come to an end.
Over the weekend, the Ponies were in Belgrade for the Central A divisional volleyball tournament. They entered the postseason as the No. 4 seed with a 3-5 conference record, and finished the weekend with a conference record of 5-7, and as the No. 3 team in the conference, just missing out on a berth in the state tournament this coming weekend in Bozeman.
Friday, the Ponies got off to a good start, defeating the Browning Indians in three games by scores of 25-8, 25-17, and 25-20. But in the next round, the Ponies fell to the No. 1 Belgrade Panthers in five sets. The Panthers defeated the Ponies by scores of 27-25, 25-27, 25-23, 21-25, and 15-9. In another Friday match, the Ponies got caught up in another tight five sets, but this time around, the Ponies defeated the Livingston Rangers in five sets by scores of 25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 15-11.
From there, the Ponies were set up to face the Lewistown Golden Eagles in the third-place match on Saturday. But that is where the Ponies' run ended, as the Eagles defeated the Ponies in three sets, winning by scores of 25-19, 25-19, and 25-20.
“I am so proud of how they played,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “And so glad they could see how good they can be. I felt like we played to our potential this weekend.”
It was the first weekend since early in the season that the Ponies had a complete roster. And though they were a win away from advancing to the state tournament, the Pony players took full advantage of having all the pieces to the puzzle back in place.
Peyton Filius missed the last five matches of the regular season, but was back to help out in the setter position. Her best outing came in the win over the Rangers, as she racked up 50 assists. Filius also totaled 15 against the Indians, 33 against the Panthers, and 31 against the Eagles. Filius also led the Ponies with two aces against the Rangers.
And with Filius back in the lineup, the hitters also took full advantage.
Sarah Armstrong emerged as one of the top hitters in all of Class A this season, and continued to dominate over the two days in Belgrade. In the four matches, Armstrong totaled 65 kills, including 20 in the win over the Rangers, and another 19 in the loss to the Panthers. The Pony hitters combined for 164 total kills in the four matches.
But it was pretty solid for all of the Pony players this weekend, as they proved to be one of the top teams in the Central A.
Brandy Lambourne led the team in digs in each match, with a grand total of 75. And Armstrong also had 10 total blocks, while Martha Stocker helped lead with three blocks against the Panthers. Aubrea Worm also had a solid serving weekend, grabbing two aces against the Indians and one more against the Eagles. Lambourne also had two aces against the Indians, while Davee McLeod had three aces against the panthers.
Havre High has looked to put together a good run of play all season, and they finally got a good look at the kind of damage they can do. When they were on, the Ponies played extremely well, earning wins, but also showing tough play in the losses.
“Everybody was playing disciplined,” Skoyen said. “And our defense and serve receive was really scrappy and kept us in the games. We were playing to win, and every single point we were playing aggressive and playing smart. We were mixing up our shots and tipping to open areas, and we were just not giving up. They were putting their hearts and souls into every match, and as a coach that was all I could really ask for.”
The loss to the Eagles to end the weekend was a weird match according to Skoyen. She doesn’t quite know if was exhaustion or just a flat outing, but either way, it didn’t take away from what the Ponies were able to do. They gave the No. 1 team in the conference, the Panthers, one of their biggest tests of the season, and finished just one match away from making the state tournament.
Belgrade and Lewistown will advance to the Class A state tournament, which starts Thursday in Bozeman.
Havre def. Browning
25-8, 25-17, 25-20
Browning – Kills: 13 (Brooke Carlson 4).
Digs: 28 (Aleah Oldmouse 11). Blocks: 3 (Carlson 2). Aces: 5 (Carlson 2,
Britney Racine 2). Assists: 10 (Shelsey St. Goddard 4, Britney Wolf Tail 4).
Havre – Kills: 32 (Sarah Armstrong 14).
Digs: 43 (Brandy Lambourne 11). Blocks: 3 (Sarah Armstrong 2). Aces: 8 (Aubrea
Worm 2, Brandy Lambourne 2). Assists: 24 (Peyton Filius 15).
Belgrade def. Havre
27-25, 25-27, 25-23, 21-25, 15-9
Belgrade -- Kills: 50 (Jorden Porter 15).
Assists: 17 (Ali Weisz 17, Porter 17). Blocks: 10 (Porter 2.5, Taylor Woolman
2.5). Digs: 101 (Dylan Fowler 32), Aces: 9 (Weisz 2, Nikki Wass 2, Joey
Severson 2, Fowlser 2).
Havre -- Kills: 45 (Sarah Armstrong 19).
Assists: 35 (Peyton Filius 33). Blocks: 3 (Martha
Stocker 3, Sarah Armstrong 3). Digs: 66 (Brandy Lambourne 20). Aces: 7 (Davee McLeod 3).
Havre def. Livingston
25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 15-11
Livingston -- Kills: 43 (Courtney Njardvik 9, Macy Rickett 9). Digs: 96 (Megan Hawkins 28). Assists: 27 (Bryn Greenwood 13). Blocks: 10 (Njardvick 5).
Havre -- Kills: 52 (Sarah Armstrong 20). Digs: 59 (Brandy Lambourne 30). Assists: 52 (Peyton Filius 50). Aces: 8 (Peyton Filius 2). Blocks: 7 (Sarah Armstrong 3).
Lewistown def. Havre
25-19, 25-19, 25-20
Havre – Kills: 35 (Sarah Armstrong 12). Assists: 32 (Peyton Fillius 31). Blocks: 4 (Sarah Armstrong 2). Digs: 38 (Brandy Lambourne 14). Aces; 2 (Sadie Seidel 1, Aubrea Worm 1).
Lewistown – Kills: 31 (Taylor Jensen 10). Assists: 35 (Maddie Comes 34). Blocks: 5 (Michelle Monger 2). Digs: 55 (Alyssa Yeager 18). Aces: 4 (Monger 2, Jensen 2).